DEAR ABBY: My "Aunt Woo Woo" was a high school teacher all her life. She retired at 62, and after her husband died, she returned to college to get a degree in special education.
She lived in a dorm, showed the young co-eds a thing or two (she was quite a rounder!), and then taught until she was 87.
Tell those who have a dream to go for it -- at any age. -- ROSE PITFORD, KEOKUK, IOWA
DEAR ROSE: I've been doing it for years, and readers have taken it to heart. I recently read about a gentleman in his 90s who had just graduated from college -- and he's not alone. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: As a child, I wanted to be a teacher to follow in my grandmother's footsteps. I made my sister play school. I made the neighbor kids play school. Nobody was safe from my teaching.
I never went beyond high school, married young and had a family right away. On my 38th birthday, our home and all possessions were burned in a fire. My life changed forever. I became a firefighter. At the age of 42, I began taking college classes in fire science. With 60 hours of college credit, I became a substitute teacher on my days off from the fire department.
It took years to earn my associate's degree in fire science technology. I entered the University of South Florida -- still a professional firefighter. (I was the oldest female professional firefighter in the United States throughout my career.)
I retired from the fire service in 1998 and, at age 55, entered college full time. It took 2 1/2 years to complete my degree.
Abby, not for a moment do I regret all the life experiences I brought to the teaching profession. I know I can continue to contribute to the education of children for another 20 years if I choose.
Would I do this over again? In a heartbeat! -- E. DIANE LAPOINTE, BRADENTON, FLA.
DEAR DIANE: Your work ethic and ability to contribute are awesome. My hat's off to you. I'm sure your example will inspire others.